Fangs but no fangs: bid to honour author of Dracula falls victim to Irish cash woes

We'll have the statue if you pay, Dublin city fathers tell Bram Stoker's descendants. David McKittrick reports

A campaign is under way to have a statue of the creator of Count Dracula – one of Gothic horror's most fascinating characters – erected in his native city of Dublin.

Many do not realise that Bram Stoker, author of the book Dracula, was an Irishman who spent much of his life in Dublin. In fact several of the numerous Draculesque theories maintain that his creation is grounded not just in Transylvania but in Irish folklore.

The statue proposal, which came from Dacre Stoker, the author's great-great-nephew, has found initial favour with Dublin Council's advisers.

But, since the Irish economy might these days be described as close to undead, the statue project – planned to coincide with the centenary of the author's death in 2012 – will only go ahead if the Stoker family can find the money for it. According to a council spokesman, a life-size statue would cost around €100,000 (£90,000).

In Dublin, Bram Stoker is certainly known as an Irish writer, though it might be said he is acknowledged rather than celebrated.

"It's an oversight. There is no permanent memorial in his home city to this guy," Dacre Stoker, who lives in South Carolina, United States, told Reuters.

During his lifetime, from 1847 to 1912, Bram Stoker was better known for handling the business affairs of Sir Henry Irving, the great English actor-manager, than for his own writing.

But in later years his creation has lodged in the popular psyche worldwide. Described as the founding text of the modern vampire myth, the book has never been out of print since the first edition was published in 1897.

It has also exercised a strong fascination first for the theatre and later for film and on television. Hundreds of actors have played the bloodthirsty count in hundreds of productions, sometimes as straight horror such as in the 1922 film, Nosferatu, an unauthorised version of the book; and occasionally as send-up, as in George Hamilton's portrayal of an urbane, fanged sophisticate in Love At First Bite (1979).

Dracula is associated with the Transylvanian folk figure also known as Vlad the Impaler. And many of the characteristics of Stoker's incarnation can be traced to the book Land Beyond the Forest, published nine years before the Irishman's work.

Stoker never visited Transylvania – Vienna was as far east as he got – though he carried out a lot of research on Romania in the British Museum and elsewhere.

But at least part of his inspiration may have come from closer to home, partly from visits to Scottish castles. A visit to the crypt of a Dublin church made a particularly strong impression on him. He may also have drawn on an earlier work by Irish writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu which – extremely daringly for Victorian times – featured a lesbian vampire.

Another highly political theory has it that the Dracula tale is a metaphor for heartless landlords sucking the blood and life out of their tenants during the Great Famine of the 19th century, and that the undead represent starving peasants.

Another approach has it that Stoker's Dracula was based on a great tyrant and wizard, based in the north of Ireland, who back in the mists of Irish legend was killed by his people. Dracula-like, he rose from the dead and demanded a bowl of blood from his people to sustain himself. He was slain again but came back demanding more blood. To despatch him permanently he was killed with a sword made of yew wood, buried upside down and covered with a large rock. Today the rock has a tree beside it and, it is claimed, anyone who tries to cut it down experiences strange and inexplicable events and sometimes accidents.

Over the years Stoker enthusiasts in Dublin have kept his memory alive with collections, exhibitions, conferences and newsletters. But with so many myths and legends floating around, there is clearly scope for a closer identification of ghouls, garlic and Gothic with Gaelic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
Sport
Hamilton runs down the back straight in the rain
F1
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing